As the sun rises on 2021, we’re reflecting on ten food trends that are taking root, breaking ground, and growing fast! Here’s what we think is on the horizon:
1. Americans will continue to stock up on shelf-stable essentials.
As we approach the new year, many grocers are reporting continued increases in demand for pantry goods [Source]. For the best of both worlds, make sure your shelf-stable foods are also nutritious. Whole grains like Lundberg Organic Short Grain Brown Rice are a great pantry staple to have on hand. Plus, brown rice has a long shelf life, so you can have your grains and eat them, too!
“Brown rice has a typical shelf life of 6-12 months, which can be extended another six months if you freeze it in airtight packaging, which makes brown rice great to have on hand this winter and all year round.”
–Matt Slem, Rice Sommelier and Culinary Scientist at Lundberg Family Farms
2. Americans are warming up to spicy foods.
Mintel recently reported that many grocers are reporting continued increases in demand for pantry goods [Source]. This appetite for heat has also been tied to a spike in demand for globally inspired flavors. We expect both trends to continue through 2021 and, with more than 20 varieties of rice and quinoa, our grains can help you travel the world without ever leaving the kitchen!
Hungry for a spicy dinner with a shortcut to delicious? For took-all-day flavor that’s table-ready in under an hour, try ours recipe for Korean-inspired Bibimbap! Just simmer Lundberg Organic Yellow Rice (which is also whole-grain!) with Korean chili flakes and smoked paprika. Then stir in gochujang and top with a fried egg and fresh veggies.
3. Regenerative agriculture rules.
A new food label is making inroads at the grocery store: "Regenerative Organic Certified," or ROC, and big producers are embracing it. General Mills recently committed to advancing regenerative practices on at least 1 million acres of land by 2030, and Danone North America is partnering with Replant Capital to invest $20 million in support of Danone farmers as they transition to regenerative or organic farming practices.
At Lundberg Family Farms, we are excited to see these efforts! We have always geeked out on the future of organic farming, knowing it’s tied to the future of the planet. Organic and Regenerative agriculture put the planet first—building rather than degrading soil by increasing organic matter, biodiversity, and fertility. With this in mind, we are participating in the Rooted Community, an industry group looking to increase regenerative agriculture. We are also creating a roadmap for implementing more regenerative practices on our farms, where we have been growing cover crops for decades as part of our founding promise to leave the land better than we found it!
“For more than 80 years, Lundberg Family Farms has been committed to growing cover crops, which not only promote soil fertility by providing essential nutrients, like nitrogen, but also prevent soil erosion and sequester carbon. While we may be leaders in organic rice farming, we can’t restore a healthy ecosystem alone. We look forward to seeing others adopting eco-positive farming practices and defining regenerative agriculture within the scope of organic standards in 2021.”
–Ashley Koller, Sustainability Specialist at Lundberg Family Farms
4. Baking is back.
In 2020, we saw many Americans get back into baking, from sourdough bread to the perfect chocolate chip cookies to the return of The Great British Baking Show! In 2021, we predict that the stuck-at-home baking frenzy will continue amidst cold weather and potential stay-at-home orders.
Looking for a gluten-free, low-fructose sweetener? We’re sweet on delicious, lightly flavored Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Syrup, which can be a substitute in recipes calling for sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, and more.
5. Mindful nutrition.
According to Registered Dietitian Samantha Cassetty, 2021 will bring an increased focus on ditching fad diets and embracing mindful eating. What’s mindful eating? Your body already knows, explains Samantha:
"It’s important to start listening to what your body is telling you! Wholegrain carbohydrates, like brown rice and quinoa provide essential nutrients and a slow-burning form of energy. Instead of shunning or fearing carbs, mindful eating can help you enjoy them. Fad diets are really alluring because they promise fast and easy results. But the truth is they’re often really restrictive and hard to follow. Ditching this diet mentality is gaining a lot of momentum. Instead of eliminating your favorite foods, it’s more helpful and sustainable to learn how to include them healthfully."
–Samantha Cassetty, Registered Dietitian
Try one of Samantha’s favorites, Lundberg’s Heat & Eat Organic Short Grain Brown Rice Bowl, for a homemade sushi bowl.
“As you’re eating, limit digital distractions and take note of what you’re enjoying about your meal. In this case, the different textures and flavors truly stand out!”
6. Immunity-boosting bites.
It can be easy to take one’s health for granted. However, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that health is something to be guarded. Now, while health is top of mind, so is immunity. According to RD Samantha Cassetty:
“The best diet for your immune system is a plant-forward diet that’s filled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These are the foods that arm your immune system with the nutrients it needs to mount a strong defense against viruses and other invaders. Foods like brown rice and quinoa do their part by supplying key nutrients, like selenium, magnesium, iron, folate, and fiber. I like to make a big batch of Lundberg’s Organic Antique White Quinoa. One night, serve it with rotisserie chicken, another night with salmon, and try mixing it with chickpeas on a third night, using different seasonings to create more variety for each meal.”
–Samantha Cassetty, Registered Dietitian
7. Convenience is king.
Cooking fatigue is real and people are hungry for shortcuts! Our Ready to Heat options mean organic rice and delicious rice blends are perfectly prepped, warming up tender, fragrant, and ready in minutes. The line has seen a steady increase in popularity since the pandemic hit, and we expect that to continue into 2021.
8. American families will continue to face food insecurity.
Feeding America reports that, due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 50 million people may have experienced food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 17 million children [Source]. At Lundberg Family Farms, we have been putting food on tables for more than four generations. Over the years, we have witnessed the power of food to provide nourishment and comfort in times of uncertainty. So, even as we work to meet increased demand, our team remains on the lookout for opportunities to donate to food banks.
In 2020 alone, Lundberg Family Farms has donated more than 485,000 pounds of food and we predict that food insecurity will unfortunately continue to be an issue into 2021. Interested readers can join us by donating to the California Association of Food Banks here.
“At Lundberg Family Farms, our definition of family extends far beyond ‘family-owned.’ It’s a founding philosophy that means we take care of each other, and we believe every family deserves access to a wholesome meal—no matter the circumstances.”
–Bryce Lundberg, VP of Agriculture, Lundberg Family Farms and the California State Board of Food and Agriculture’s Liaison to the California Association of Food Banks.
9. Americans are losing sleep over their diets.
As the pandemic stress of 2020 carries over into 2021, Americans are increasingly having problems with sleep. According to RD Samantha Cassetty:
“Sleep is a hot topic heading into the coming year, with high levels of stress and anxiety contributing to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, play their part in sleep by supplying fiber and magnesium, which affect quality of sleep. Magnesium is a mineral that helps your mind and body relax, and it helps regulate a healthy sleep cycle. One recent study among postmenopausal women found that higher intakes of fiber-filled foods and whole grains were among the foods linked with lower insomnia levels.” [Source (Sleep Foundation), Source (NIH), Source (Sleep Foundation)]
10. Climate is key.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that 21% to 37% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributed to the world’s food system (agriculture, storage, transport, packaging, processing, retail, and consumption) [Source]. As a farm and food manufacturer, this means we have a huge opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. As Bill Gates recently wrote, “We should discuss soil as much as we talk about coal.” We’re more likely to reference Albert Lundberg’s motto: “Leave the land better than you found it.” Either way, we prioritize soil health, which has been linked to increased carbon sequestration. To better understand our carbon footprint, we have been working with University of California at Davis to analyze how Lundberg’s organic farming system reduces methane emissions. Meanwhile, we remain on the lookout for ways to make our farming systems more sustainable—from seed to shelf—by using 100% renewable energy to power our headquarters (which are also ENERGY STAR certified), maintaining Platinum TRUE Zero Waste certification, and more.